HC Deb 04 June 1959 vol 606 cc353-5
51. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give details of the detention camps now in use in Kenya, and the number of detainees in each establishment at the latest convenient date.

Mr. J. Amery

The main emergency detention camps in which Mau Mau detainees are held are Aguthi, Athi River, Manyani and Hola, but four other temporary camps also remain.

I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the position in all the camps at 31st March, which is the latest date for which I have separate figures. There has been a number of releases since then.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Under-Secretary aware that we continue to receive allegations about past and present ill-treatment of these detainees? In view of the considerable improvement in the political situation in Kenya, has not the time come for these men to be released or to have charges brought against them?

Mr. Amery

We have been very carefully investigating a number of allegations which were made in the debate of 24th February, and I can say that almost without exception they have been proved unfounded.

Mr. Callaghan

Can the Under-Secretary give us an explicit assurance that the Cowan Plan is not likely to be and is not in operation in any of these other detention camps?

Mr. Amery

I have no information to suggest that it is in operation in any other camps.

Mr. Callaghan

Does the Under-Secretary know? Is it in operation in any of these camps, or not? If he does not know, will he please say so and make sure that it is withdrawn straight away?

Mr. Amery

I have told the hon. Gentleman the position as I know it. He has not put down a Question and has not given me any notice of this whatever.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that eleven men were killed in the Hola Camp and that, judging by the coroner's report, that appears to have been connected with the implementation of the Cowan Plan? Is he really standing at that Box and saying that after all these weeks he does not know whether the Kenya Government have withdrawn the Cowan Plan or whether it is in operation in the other camps?

Mr. Amery

To begin with, I think that the right hon. Gentleman misunderstands the position. Whether the Cowan Plan in its application or misapplication was responsible for the deaths is one of the matters which will no doubt be discussed when the debate comes forward. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) sprang a question of which he had not given me notice. Speaking as of now, I have no reason to believe that the Cowan Plan is being implemented in any other camp.

Following is the information:

Camp No. of Detainees at 31st March
Aguthi 222
Athi River 46
Manyani 184
Hola 271
Kandongu 326
Githimayo 25
Kamiti 2
Langata 21

NOTE: An additional 61 detainees were in transit or under medical treatment, or for other reasons temporarily held elsewhere.

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